ROG has a storied history of pioneering cutting-edge gaming laptop displays. On September 10, we wrote the next chapter with the world’s first demonstration of a new breed of panels that mixes high resolution, fast performance, and vibrant colors.
The two displays debuted live on ROG Pulse, a weekly podcast that goes behind the scenes with the latest products and technologies. They strike a satisfying balance between greater detail and smoother gameplay by combining a WQHD resolution (2560 x 1440) with refresh rates up to 165Hz and 240Hz, respectively. With 3ms pixel response times that produce a crisp picture at speed, plus full coverage of the wider DCI-P3 color gamut used in the video industry, these panels promise unprecedented versatility to a wide audience of gamers and creators.
Although the new panels aren’t ready for production in current machines, we’re planning to introduce high-refresh WQHD as an option in 2021. You can see the demo and learn more about our commitment to advancing gaming laptop displays in the video below.
Showing the way forward for gaming laptop displays
The WQHD demos build upon a history of ROG leadership in gaming laptop displays that began way back in 2016. At the time, high-refresh panels typically relied on TN technology with dull colors and narrow viewing angles. We wanted smoother gameplay without compromising picture quality, so we worked with our panel provider to develop the first 120Hz display based on superior AHVA tech. That partnership led to a larger project with chemical giant Merck to develop a new liquid crystal structure that enabled a faster 144Hz panel with nearly a 4X reduction in response times. We cut grey-to-grey pixel response to an industry-leading 7ms, giving gamers sharper visuals with minimal blurring in motion.
Desktop gaming monitors implement a technique called overdrive to achieve even lower response times, but they rely on scaler hardware that isn’t used in laptops. We spearheaded the development of a new controller chip and overdrive algorithm that lowered the response time of IPS-level panels to just 3ms, another world’s first for gaming laptops. As with our other display innovations, this technology quickly spread to different form factors and price points, fulfilling our commitment to bring the best gaming experience to everyone.
Experimenting with early versions of next-gen panels helps us choose the right ones for each laptop. At CES 2019, we were the first to publicly demo a new 240Hz gaming laptop display before rolling it out across our wider lineup. Later that year at IFA, we raised the bar again by demoing 300Hz panels that surpassed the speed of the fastest desktop monitors available at the time. Within months, we had the first 300Hz gaming laptop on the market.
While much of our early innovation focused on faster refresh rates and response times, performance is one of many important factors for a display. A lot of gamers are also content creators who want to work and play on the same machine. That audience needs accurate colors, so we implemented factory calibration with Pantone Validation that guarantees fidelity to the globally recognized Pantone palette. It’s now available throughout our family of Zephyrus laptops, whose ultraslim proportions are particularly appealing for professionals on the move.
Serious creators typically need higher resolutions and more colors, leading us to offer a 4K panel with 100% coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space. Its 60Hz refresh rate is better suited to cinematic RPGs and slower-paced play than to competitive esports and frenetic shooters. Pushing more than 60 FPS at 4K resolution is a struggle for even high-end gaming laptops.
A live introduction to the next generation
Physical events aren’t viable right now, so we took our latest technology demo online with a live showcase of next-generation displays in current ROG Zephyrus S15 laptops. The prototype IPS-level panels are the logical next step, bringing together WQHD resolution with high refresh rates and a broader color palette.
WQHD sits between Full HD and 4K on the resolution spectrum. Across a 15.6” screen, it boasts a higher pixel density than typical 4K desktop monitors, yet has much lower performance requirements that enable triple-digit frame rates in a broader range of games. Maximum refresh rates of 165Hz and 240Hz put those FPS to good use, allowing you to see more full frames, and both displays support variable refresh rates down to 48Hz. Like our fastest Full HD panels, they can also implement overdrive and will offer the same 3ms pixel response.
The panels’ versatile combination of resolution and speed becomes even more enticing with the addition of 100% DCI-P3 coverage. The wider gamut offers significantly more shades than the sRGB color space typically covered by gaming laptops. Creators get a bigger palette to play with on a more detailed canvas, and they don’t have to sacrifice speed.
More to come in 2021
We’re excited to give gamers a glimpse into the future of laptop displays. ROG continues to lead the development and adoption of new panel technology, and our high-refresh WQHD demonstration is the latest in a string of examples stretching back to the first laptops with 120Hz IPS-level displays. Stay tuned for more on the innovations we’re bringing to gaming laptops in 2021.